Our Favorite Cheesecake Recipe
FOR THE FILLING:
- 2 pounds/904 grams cream cheese (four 8-ounce/226-gram packages), room temperature - make sure it is room temperature!
- ½ cup/113 grams sour cream
- 1 cup/201 grams granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2/3 of whole Kasih Co-op Vanilla Beans
- Start with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. If you want more salt you can add up to 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest - this is basically one lemon zested
- 4 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- ¼ cup/32 grams all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Brush some of the melted butter around a 9 by 3-inch cake pan on the bottom and the sides. Adhere parchment to the bottom. Make sure your oven temperature is at 300F and you can get an oven temperature to check accuracy. For example, my digital oven will state 300F but it is actually about 25F lower inside so I rely on the manual oven temperature inside the oven.
- Put the graham crackers in a zip lock bag and use your hand to crumble the graham crackers. Instead of using a food processor, we crumble the graham crackers by hand so it has more texture when we bake them. In a bowl, combine crumbled graham crackers, sugar, and mix it together. Add melted butter. Using your hands or spatula, mix well until no dry spots remain (crumb mixture should not be sandy or dry, but hold small clumps when pressed together). (See Alton Brown's video on how to do this here.
- Press 2/3 of the crust evenly into the bottom and the rest of it for the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to make sure the bottom is as even as possible. Bake on the middle rack until crust is set and just starting to brown around the edges, 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from the oven and set aside while you prepare the filling.
- Prepare the filling: Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a paddle attachment, beat on high until mixture is completely smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary, about 4 minutes.
- Reduce speed to medium and 1 at a time, add eggs and yolk, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each egg is added. Add lemon zest. With the mixer on low, add flour and beat just to blend, until no lumps remain.
- Pour filling into prepared crust (if filling goes above the crust, that is O.K.).
- We are preparing the water bath for the cheesecake. Find another oven safe container that will fit your 9" cheesecake pan. Optional, put a towel on the container so hot water doesn't splash around. Pour hot water into the container. (Alton Brown's method, see his video above).
- Lower oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Place cheesecake into a preheated water bath, in the oven for 1.5 hours. Turn the oven off and open the door for one minute. Close the door for one more hour. Check on the cheesecake around 1 hour into baking, you would want the center of 2" of the cheesecake still jiggly while the rest looks set. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to completely cool before serving.
- When ready to serve, place the entire cake pan into a hot water bath for about 15 seconds. Unmold onto a cake round or serving dish. I usually use knife to separate the sides of the cheesecake, then put the entire cake pan into hot water bath for 15 seconds, flip the cheesecake into a plate to remove it from the cheesecake pan and then flip it again to serve.
- To slice, place your knife into a hot water bath and wipe dry each time you make a pass through the cake.
Go ahead and practice your cheesecake skill just in time for the holiday.
Note: I have also made this Cherry Sauce from Natasha's kitchen here to put on top of the cheesecake.